Afghan Girls’ Agency in the Context of Family and Kinship Dynamics
Asma Khalid

This paper seeks to explore gender identities and power relations in an Afghan refugee community living in the slum areas of Islamabad. Particular attention is paid to culture, domination, and subordination of females, especially young females in paid employment in the informal economy. In order to gain data in studying this under-researched community in urban Pakistan, Afghan girls aged between 5 to 12, working as rag pickers were studied in a collaborative ethnographic research project for seven months. In this article, Meyers‟ (2001) gender identity concept provides a heuristic framework with which to analyze the daily lives of the young Afghan rag pickers. In particular the paper uses the framework to explore how gender roles and norms are defined since such norms and processes play a big role in formulating gender identities for girls. I conclude by showing that these young girls live a life which is heavily dominated by male family members so that the girls have very few opportunities to make decisions on their own. I also emphasis that there is a need to change the social structures and processes in the families so that the girls might begin to have access to basic human rights such as education and health.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v5n2a4